(Adds detail, CEO comment)
MILAN May 10 Italian energy company Eni
reported its best quarterly profits in two years on
Wednesday buoyed by higher oil prices and production and
confirmed its full-year targets.
Adjusted net profit for the first quarter rose to 744
million euros ($810 million) from breakeven a year earlier and
topped the 610 million expected by analysts.
Like many of its peers, state-controlled Eni has benefited
from higher crude prices after a two-year price downturn that
rocked the industry.
BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total
have all beaten analysts' profit forecasts for the
CEO Claudio Descalzi confirmed Eni's targets for the year,
and noted first-quarter cash generation of 2.6 billion euros was
its strongest performance in seven quarters.
"We expect that in 2017 organic cash generation, coupled
with proceeds from disposals, will allow us to fully fund our
capex and dividend requirements at an oil price well below the
current level," Descalzi said.
Eni, which in recent years has made major gas finds in
Mozambique and Egypt, holds one of the best discovery track
records in the industry.
On Wednesday it confirmed production would grow by 5 percent
this year to 1.84 million barrels of oil equivalent per day
(boed) lifted by start-ups in Egypt and Kazakhstan.
In the first quarter Eni produced 1.795 million boed, up 2.3
percent from a year earlier.
($1 = 0.9186 euros)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Jason Neely)